A week from last Saturday was the big kick off push for Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers. There were nearly five thousand gatherings across the country, many that congregated in living rooms and around kitchen tables and private homes, across the fruited plains. There were several in my area and since I wanted to get a pulse on how the campaign was going, I attended three of them.
DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) is the activist organization that I “fuck with,” fuck with being a younger person’s slang/trendy term used to describe the persons/places/things/ideas that one is down with. All fucking aside, I’ve been a member of DSA for a few years now, and currently the national DSA organization is debating whether to formally endorse Bernie in 2020, so at our March organizing meeting here in Santa Cruz we dedicated a good bit of the meeting to discussing the Berning question. For us it’s kind of an odd subject matter because we mostly focus on local politics/activism, not so much on national politics or national issues.
The Powers That Be In NYC Be not happy With AOC They keep going after her, which is quite remarkable, really, i.e., that a freshman Congressional representative would get this much national attention. There is understandable great consternation and anxiety on the political right about America’s re-awakening and rising sense of class consciousness. Class consciousness seems to be only increasing, which means that in the future Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can expect a lot more intense opposition and hostility than billboards in Times Square.
I recently finished that Ken Burns documentary that I’ve been watching (more on that in another post) and decided to re-read the Vietnam War chapter in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of The United States (more on that in another post), as a follow-up. As can happen, one thing leads to another and before I knew it I was reading Zinn’s chapter/s on the Civil War, which is where I came across the words of Harriet Tubman. Here is the quote, in context:
Per Fox News, President Trump dramatically vowed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday that “America will never be a socialist country,” in an apparent rebuke to self-described Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders that drew loud cheers and a standing ovation from Republicans in the House chamber — as well as supportive applause from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez had the perfect zinger of a response, as usual: “I thought it was great. I think he’s scared.” I think it’s great too. I was pretty stoked when I heard that Trump bashed socialism, with the eyes of the nation upon him. Having our tempestuous Tweeter in Chief condemn socialism in the State of the Union Address is the kind of exposure you just can’t buy, which is something that a promotional genius like Trump should be able to appreciate, which of course begs the question: Is Trump, himself, a Socialist? Is he using his plummeting popularity to drive people to socialism?
Activism is good for the soul. I want to change the world, like anyone else, but for me activism is also extremely therapeutic. It reminds me that there are other people who see injustices in the world and believe in their bones that things don’t have to be this way. That’s especially true of big activist events like the Women’s March. It’s kind of a beautiful thing, to be surrounded by smiling faces and to snap a hundred pictures of the explosion in creativity that surrounds us: all the catchy and colorful signs, the carefully crafted costumes, the music, the chanting, and the chalk art on the streets. Yet in the midst of this exhilarating experience of solidarity, opposition and hostility can sometimes come from unexpected places and from unexpected people.